Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Supermarket Wines. Wines in Multiples. Celebrity Wines.

 Supermarket Wines. Wines in Multiples

Celebrity Wines. 

Supermarkets are where many of us bought and buy our first wines, and where many still buy all their wines. 

Two that I started with, decades ago, were the Sangre De Toro Red and Vina Sol White. Both are produced by the renowned and respected Torres family of Spain. I enjoyed those for quite a few years and both are still going strong in Irish supermarkets.

It is also in supermarkets that you’ll find most if not all of the celebrity wines, such as the Graham Norton Shiraz below. Graham now has quite a few to his name, including two Proseccos, even a gin. He and his Invivo wine professionals seem to be much appreciated.

Most of these celebrity wines are well made, not overly structured, and usually easy drinking. Not talking here about wines produced by celebrities that actually own vineyards, but rather about those who have teamed up with wine professionals to make one wine or sometimes a series. 

You will find decent wines at entry level prices in supermarkets and multiples. The first two below are good examples. The third, an easy-drinking bulk wine Sauvignon Blanc, hasn’t the longest finish but I don’t think that will be a major handicap when you’re enjoying it with a few friends and a chat in a pavement café or during a back garden interlude.

You don’t hear too much about bulk wine but, according to The Buyer, bulk (or rather bottled-in-market wines) it is the fastest growing part of the wine industry. 

Wine Folly: Some bulk producers have state-of-the-art automation methods that make solid, clean, and consistent wines year-after-year

So good value can be found for different reasons. And the reason in the case of the Romanian Pinot Noir from O’Brien’s is historical. Romania is only now recovering from the grim grip of the former Soviet Union on its wine industry and so prices are somewhat lower than the norm. But, with top wine companies investing there, expect to pay more in the future. In the meantime, enjoy!

Andre Goichot Fleurie (AOC) 2019, 13%, Supervalu €14.65 (€10.00 when on offer, as it was this Easter)

Fleurie is perhaps the best loved and also one of the very best of the Beaujolais area’s ten crus.  I’m quite a Fleurie fan and always look forward to opening a bottle and this was no exception, especially since I had enjoyed the 2018 not too long ago.

It is mid to dark ruby in colour. Cherry scents are prominent when you nose it and on the palate it has lots of deliciously fruit (raspberry, cherry) with a hint of spice and, importantly, with a refreshing acidity that helps create harmony right through to the dry finish. 

Medium bodied, it is soft and easy drinking, not a blockbuster or anywhere close to blockbusting, but it has character enough to pair well with a wide range of lighter dishes. The label recommends hard and soft cheeses and classic roasts, be it red or white meat. Worth a try also with spicy food.

Fleurie, like all ten crus, is in the north east of the Beaujolais region. Here, the Gamay grape thrives on the granite soil. The crus that produce the flagship wines are: Chiroubles, Saint Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent. Not everyday, you can try out a cru for this price!

Graham Norton’s Own Shiraz, South Australia 2017, 14.5%, Wines of the World and Supermarkets.

This was one of some very enjoyable wines - my first time meeting this particular Shiraz - at a Wines of the World Blind Online Tasting with Kate Barry (of Barry & Fitzwilliam) in 2021.

The Graham Norton Shiraz is from South Australia and is a mix of fruit from different regions offering a reasonably complex wine with a deep ruby colour. It’s a bold in aroma and on the palate,  a juicy wine with character, just like the man himself! Perhaps that’s why they called it Shiraz rather than Syrah (the French name for the grape denotes, mostly, a quieter wine). It is a juicy and fruity wine and easy drinking for sure.

This Shiraz is quite a good wine for a tasting actually. It came to ours in a brown paper bag! Kate enjoyed tasting this one. “A dry wine with medium plus acidity.” She expected a high alcohol count, judging mainly by the burn at the back of throat, and she was spot on. Lots of primary fruit flavours plus some spice. Pretty good finish too and well balanced. “I’m a lover of this wine and I hope you enjoyed it too,” she concluded.

Usually priced in the low teens and widely available, including in Dunnes, SuperValu and Tesco. 

The Bend in the River Sauvignon Blanc 2020, 12.5%, (widely available in supermarkets at around eight euro)


The Bend in the River range by Germany’s Reh Kendermann is widely available in this country, especially in the main supermarkets.

The Sauvignon Blanc has a light straw colour with some green tints.  Light fruity aromas plus hints of Elderflower invite you on to a refreshing, balanced and well flavoured wine (citrus-y mainly but also green apple, gooseberry notes too) with a lip smacking finish. The wine is an excellent aperitif and a perfect match to spicy or Asian Cuisine. It certainly has that second glass appeal.

The fruit is raised in South Africa and imported and bottled by Reh Kendermann in Germany. It is therefore what is known as a bulk wine. It is not the only Reh Kendermann wine I’ve come across in recent weeks. They have a few wines (made from home grown German fruit) exclusively with Dunnes Stores and they, retailing around €11.00 to 11.50, are definitely worth checking out here.

Wildflower Pinot Noir Romania 2019, 12.5%, €9 (was 13.95) 

Romania? Haven’t heard much about their wine? Reasonable questions. But vineyards were first planted in Romania by the Romans so there is an ancient winemaking history here. Nowadays, according to the World Atlas of Wine, “EU membership has encouraged considerable investment in Romania’s vineyards and relatively well-run wineries”

This Pinot Noir is a pale ruby colour, as you might expect from the varietal. There’s a fruity nose (raspberry, strawberry, cranberry) and fairly spicy too. Very fruity on the palate, richer than you’d generally find in France. But it’s light and fresh, and acidity enough to make it very quaffable indeed. Good finish too. A pleasant intro to the Pinot Noir grape and excellent value.

The label says this is “an outstanding example of this famous varietal and can be enjoyed on its own, slightly chilled on a hot summer evening, or as perfect companion to BBQs where it will definitely keep all your friends happy.”

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